Sep 6, 2020 - Economy

Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" brings in $20.2 million at U.S. box office

A commuter walks by a sign promoting the film "Tenet"

Photo: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Christopher Nolan's new action film "Tenet" raked in $20.2 million over Labor Day weekend in the U.S. and nearly $150 million globally as it became the first major blockbuster to debut since the pandemic put the film industry on hold, Variety reports.

Why it matters: The early success of "Tenet" suggests people are still willing to make their way to the movie theater for a highly anticipated film in the midst of a pandemic, but expectations at the box office have been significantly lowered.

What they're saying: "There is literally no context in which to compare the results of a film opening during a pandemic with any other circumstance," Warner Bros. said in a statement. "We are in unprecedented territory, so any comparisons to the pre-COVID world would be inequitable and baseless.”

The state of play: 70% of U.S. movie theaters are currently open and operating at half-capacity in order to ensure social distancing is possible, according to AP. The film, which had its release delayed in the U.S. three times due to the coronavirus, debuted in 2,810 North American locations.

What to watch: "Tenet" will need to rake in a total of $500 million in order to break even, according to AP.

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